Quick Commentary: Semester in review edition

By Emma Goodwin and Matt Silich

DI Denied

“White Student Union” page surfaces

Right before Thanksgiving break, a Facebook page surfaced following a solidarity rally on the Quad. The Facebook page was titled “Illini White Student Union” and was subsequently removed from Facebook after administrators reported it — but a new page sprouted up titled “University of Illinois White Student Union” and is unable to be removed. It’s upsetting, disappointing and discouraging that these pages appeared here following positive racial movements, and it’s further saddening that these pages exist for other schools as well. We support racial equality at the University and believe firmly that any page such as this existing at any university only represents a vocal minority group. So, when standing for racial justice, we just have to be louder.

DI Denied

Detour in MAP grant funding

Earlier this semester, we were all graced with a lovely surprise announcement that students relying on MAP grant funding may have to repay the grants that they have been granted — granted meaning given…meaning they shouldn’t have to pay them back…ever…meaning this wasn’t supposed to happen…ever… If you haven’t sensed the sarcasm dripping of this page, imagine being stranded in the desert and given the present of enough water to survive, but after you’ve already consumed the water, you’re informed you have to give the water back. How do you create water in a desert? How does a college student with financial stress create money when money doesn’t exist? These are the questions, my friends, that our state representatives have yet to answer, but hey, it’s chill, right? (Spoiler: it’s not).

DI Denied

To be or not to be?: The story of our state budget

In case you haven’t read pretty much every editorial we’ve published this year and are this unaware: Our state does not have a state budget and pretty much everything is terrible because of it. Our university and other crucial state programs have suffered because our legislators apparently never attended preschool where you learn the fundamentals of how to compromise. As the days tick on, our annoyance levels grow. Here’s hoping that when (if?) the budget does come in, our school doesn’t suffer too much — we all know we’ve financially suffered enough.

DI Denied

Resignations and firings and stepping-downs, oh my!

University Chancellor Phyllis Wise resigned in August in large part because of the controversy surrounding personal emails regarding Steven Salaita’s lawsuit. University Provost Ilesanmi Adesida stepped down two weeks later to return to the College of Engineering. Four days later, Head Football Coach Tim Beckman was fired by Athletic Director Mike Thomas for his part in the injury mistreatment of Fighting Illini football players. In November, Thomas was fired to help give the athletic department an almost completely fresh start. That it took nearly all of the available commentary space just to list the high-ranking resignations and firings within the University shows just how unstable our campus was this semester. But hey, at least we didn’t double down on that instability by extending our interim head football coach for just two years, leaving him completely in limbo with recruits seeking to make a four-year commitment! Right? Hello? Anyone?

Alma Approved

A “Fun.” round-up of campus celebrity visits

While nobody proposed to Shawn Johnson this year and neither Joe Biden nor Jason Segel wasn’t here to take surprise selfies with, we have seen our fair share of celebs on campus this semester. Nate Ruess of the band Fun., Nev Shulman of the show Catfish, comedian Bill Maher and journalist Bill Geist all made their ways down to this neck of the woods for some reason or another. While we’re sure they all enjoyed their short visits to campus, none of them seemed to have enjoyed it enough to accept the offers of employment for the chancellor or provost positions that were probably offered to them.

Alma Approved

Salatia solutions

No matter what side of the Salatia argument you stand on, this semester, a settlement was reached finally marking the end of the scandal. While our school still has to deal with an embarrassing censure and the public shame that involves, we can all at least hold on to the glimmer of hope that we’re — for the most part — in the clear. Rather than more problems surfacing, now is the time to focus on solutions. Let’s just hope they’re solutions we can — largely — all agree with.

Alma Approved

Rockin’ around the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Marching Illini rocked out at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time ever and, for all of you who didn’t watch it go down — four minutes early however… — it was really note-able (get it? Because of notes in music?). While they were professional and sounded brilliant, they were also one of the only acts that just seemed to be having a lot of fun, especially when they started dancing. Not only did they perform rousingly in the actual parade, but they showed off their musical stylings the night before in Times Square as well. Congrats, MI — we sure are thankful for you.

Alma Approved

New stadium is abso“lou“tely amazing

Between a massive renovation and the re-naming of the State Farm Center court after the legendary Lou Henson, the home of Fighting Illini Basketball made serious strides in both functionality and appearance this semester. It was refreshing to not see the old gray void with few fans in view of the camera during home basketball games, now replaced by hundreds of screaming college students as the basketball gods intended. If the team weren’t undergoing one of the worst non-conference starts in program history, the future might actually be bright for Illini hoops.

Alma Approved

Azzip zips in, Orange Leaf blows away

The high-cost nature of maintaining restaurant space in campustown leads to a great deal of fluctuation in student food options. This semester, Azzip Pizza filled in the space vacated by Jersey Mike’s, which left last year (much to the dismay of a certain assistant opinions editor). Azzip has filled in the space admirably — it’s hard to take issue with more pizza, especially with all the deals they have. This semester, we also experienced the loss of Orange Leaf (quite suddenly, too, much to our confusion) and the addition of a Starbucks in the Union — Espresso Royale lovers beware.